By Nolan Evans, Chief Technology Officer, FlexITy Solutions
Why should your business care about cloud – isn’t it just another technology architecture? The short answer is: no, it’s not just the latest IT fashion; it is a transformative way of aligning technology to address business needs. From the perspective of your business, cloud technology should appear as:
- An (effectively) infinite pool of IT capabilities from which your business can draw from on an as-needed basis.
- Response to demand, be it for scaling existing capabilities or delivering support for net new business opportunities or processes, in near real time (measured in minutes to hours instead of weeks to months).
Consider the transformational impact this capability could have for your business. By removing capacity and implementation time constraints, the risk analysis of cloud technology looks very different:
- Creativity can become an active aspect of business development – a new product or service can be developed, modeled and brought to production in weeks instead of months, and if it is not successful the cost is minimal.
- On demand elastic scaling of existing services (up or down) means that it is possible to respond to actual demand and not plan for forecast peaks.
This is a significant change to the traditional business planning process, a true discontinuity, with all of the advantages and challenges that implies (a tip of the hat to Tony West at Cisco for this perspective).
So how does an existing organization reach this state of perfection? It is certainly not done in a single step – it’s a journey based on a carefully planned and executed roadmap. The milestones on this roadmap will depend on the maturity of existing technology processes and organization, but at a minimum the following should be included:
- An IT organizational transformation – move from technology silos to cross-functional teams. The elasticity of a cloud infrastructure depends on seamless interaction between all components of the technology infrastructure. Barriers between technology teams will make this unachievable.
- Analysis of cloud consumption models against business requirements – internal, hosted private, shared multitenant, hybrid, etc. Cloud can be delivered in any of these models, singularly or in combination. Typically, a hybrid solution will best address the overall requirements.
Once these are clearly understood then the next phase (defining a technology architecture and implementation roadmap) can begin. This process is well understood and there are proven reference architectures, enabling technologies and implementation methodologies to map out and execute the technology transformation in logical, achievable steps.
Cloud represents an opportunity for business transformation similar in scope to other major shifts in technology architecture, such as the introduction of the personal computer or the Internet. It is not a trivial evolution, but it is also not optional and the sooner you begin the journey, the sooner you will be able to reap the rewards it brings.
Nolan Evans has over twenty-five years of experience in the analysis, architecture and implementation of business-focused Advanced Information Technology solutions across many verticals including financial, manufacturing, service provider, education and health care. As a member of FlexITy’s leadership team, Mr. Evans stewards FlexITy’s end-to-end technology vision. Mr. Evans was awarded a BSc (Honours Physics and Mathematics) from the University of Victoria in 1987 and an MSc (Mathematics) from the University of Victoria in 1989.